Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Political Behaviour: Opinions, Choices and Movements (PLIT10132)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is an introduction to the study of comparative political behaviour. We will survey the major theoretical approaches and empirical research on the behaviour of non-elite political actors.
Course description Human actors are the foundation of everything we study about politics. Therefore, in order to have a full understanding of politics we must understand people¿s attitudes and behaviour. This perspective is the core rational for research in the field of political behaviour.

This course is an introduction to the study of comparative political behaviour. We will survey the major theoretical approaches and empirical research on the behaviour of non-elite political actors. "Behaviour" is interpreted quite broadly including psychological attachments, attitudes, beliefs and cognitive biases, in addition to various forms of overt behaviour such as voting, social movements and mass protest.

This is a seminar-style course. This means that the students are expected to read the material before class and participate in the discussion. The lecturer¿s role is mainly to moderate the discussion and provide guidance.

Some of the readings will have a quantitative element. This is inevitable in the study of empirical political behaviour research. However, the more important thing for us is the interpretation of findings rather than the details of the quantitative analyses. Therefore, no prior statistical training is necessary in order to be successful in this course that is intended as a bridge between students¿ substantive training and their understanding of quantitative political research using a variety of easily accessible comparative datasets.

Students will be expected to use graphical and/or tabular statistical evidence in their essays to help make their arguments through either a quantitative or qualitative research design.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)) AND ( Introduction to Political Data Analysis (PLIT08009) OR Statistical Methods for Economics (ECNM08016))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Research Project (3000 words + analyses) 60%
2 reaction papers to course readings (20%; 1000 words each) 40%
Feedback Students will receive three key pieces of feedback prior to submitting their final papers namely two sets of comments on their reaction papers and direct discussions in class as well as during guidance and feedback hours.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of contemporary debates on political behaviour, from both a theoretical and empirical perspective.
  2. Explain theories of public opinion and relate these to contemporary and historical examples.
  3. Assess complex and interrelated systems that form the policy-making process.
  4. Present and develop testable hypotheses by matching theory to data and method.
  5. Communicate a detailed and reasoned argument through the use of the scientific method and supporting data based on qualitative and/or quantitative methods.
Reading List
Clarke, Harold D., David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart and Paul F. Whiteley. (2004). Political Choice in Britain. Oxford University Press
Dalton, Russell. (2008). Citizen Politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press
Dalton, R. J., & Klingemann, H. D. (Eds.) (2007). Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior. Oxford University Press
Norris, Pippa, Stefaan Walgrave, and Peter Van Aelst. (2005). ¿Who Demonstrates?¿ Comparative Politics 37: 189-205
Zaller, John. (1992) The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. Cambridge University Press
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will teach students to be independent learners and researchers that take responsibility for the arguments they put forth.
Students will learn a variety of both new and old ideas theories as well as methodologies throughout the course and combined introduction to statistics.
Through their final papers, students will need to make careful decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought in order to present a well-reasoned argument.
In class discussions as well as each aspect of the course assessment will require careful debate and argumentation.
Many of the theories and methods discussed in the course will be unfamiliar to students and test their ability to adapt to new ideas and situations.
Students will be expected to have a clear plan and goal for their final paper working towards it throughout the course and its various assessments.
Keywordspolitics,political actors
Course organiserDr Ugur Ozdemir
Tel: (0131 6)50 3990
Course secretaryMr Ian McClory
Tel: (0131 6)50 3932
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information